Talking to kids about vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for kids are here. Help them understand how they work in the body.

Now that the CDC is officially recommending COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages six months and older, your children might have a few questions about the science behind how vaccines of all types work. One of the best approaches? Be calm and straightforward with them.

“If adults are matter-of-fact about vaccines, kids will likely be less nervous about them,” says Laura Faherty, a health policy researcher at the nonprofit RAND Corporation and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. 

When she explains vaccines to her two young children and patients, she starts by relating them to medical treatments they’re already familiar with. “I often say that there are some medicines that we take when we’re sick to help us feel better,” Faherty says. “Vaccines are like medicine that we take to keep us from getting sick in the first place.” (Find out how to help kids get over a fear of shots.)

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